Expensive Public Transportation Projects Won’t Survive the Shift to Autonomous Vehicles
Joshua Lasky

Autonomous vehicles should be the future of public transit.

I don’t think AVs will displace public transit. As far as I can see, it would make far more sense for AVs to be the future of public transit, where vehicles like Olli, that you mentioned, are publicly owned and offered for use at inexpensive rates.

Where I’m from in Rhode Island, we have a state-wide public bussing network called RIPTA. As it stands, it’s not a popular option for travel among most Rhode Islanders, though it certainly serves the needs of lower income residents who can’t afford to “invest” in a car. By migrating from this existing monolithic network to more of a “public-autonomous Uber” concept, I think more people would be inclined to ditch car ownership in favor of fast, reliable, inexpensive public transit via AVs. This would mean fewer cars on the road, fewer or smaller parking lots (which are a gross waste of space), and more money in people’s pockets. In terms of maintenance costs, I see it as an opportunity to create jobs servicing the public AVs.

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